Mozambique Ruby: Gemstone and Jewelry

Mozambique’s vast natural wealth, coupled with its long history of precious minerals and gemstones, has made it a natural treasure trove for the jewelry industry. One such treasure is the Mozambique ruby, a stone whose deep red color is coveted by collectors and connoisseurs alike. This article provides a comprehensive look at the Mozambique ruby, including its history, properties, mining, and uses in the jewelry industry.



History of the Mozambique Ruby: 

The history of the Mozambique ruby dates back over 500 millions of years. It is believed that the formation of the ruby occurred when magma was pushed up from the Earth's mantle to the surface, where it cooled and crystallized. Over time, this process was repeated multiple times, creating several layers of rubies beneath the Earth's crust.

The rubies in Mozambique were first discovered in the 1920s, and mining began shortly thereafter. However, the country's ruby industry was significantly hampered by the country's civil war, which lasted from 1977 to 1992. After peace was restored to Mozambique, the government began efforts to develop the country's ruby mining industry. Since then, Mozambique has become one of the world's largest producers of rubies.



Properties of the Mozambique Ruby: 

The Mozambique ruby is characterized by a deep red color that is caused by the presence of chromium within the stone. The color can range from a bright, vibrant red to a darker, more subdued shade, depending on the amount of chromium within the stone. In terms of size, Mozambique rubies can range from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. The larger stones are rare and highly sought after by collectors.

One of the unique properties of the Mozambique ruby is the presence of rutile needles within the stone. These needles create the coveted “silk” effect in the ruby, which causes it to shimmer and sparkle when light is reflected off of it. This effect is highly prized by gemstone collectors and is considered a sign of the highest quality.



Mining of Mozambique Rubies: 

The mining of Mozambique rubies is largely done by hand, with miners using basic tools such as shovels, axes, and picks to extract the stones from the ground. The mining process is a labor-intensive and dangerous one, with miners working long hours in small, cramped mines. The rubies are found in deposits that are located in remote areas, often requiring long and treacherous travel to reach.

In addition, there are significant safety concerns associated with the mining process, as the small mines can be unstable and prone to cave-ins. Once the rubies are extracted from the ground, they are sorted and graded based on their size, shape, and quality. The highest-quality stones are sold to collectors and jewelry manufacturers, while lower-grade stones are sold for industrial uses such as grinding and polishing.



The Impact of Mozambique Rubies on the Jewelry Industry: 

The Mozambique ruby has had a significant impact on the jewelry industry since its discovery. Due to its deep red color and high quality, it is highly prized by jewelry designers and collectors alike. Mozambique rubies have been used in a variety of jewelry designs, including rings, necklaces, and earrings. One of the most famous examples of Mozambique rubies used in jewelry is the “Graff Ruby,” a 8.62-carat ruby that was purchased by Laurence Graff for $3.6 million in 2014. The ruby was thought to be one of the finest examples of its kind and is now part of the Graff Collection.

Another example of Mozambique rubies used in jewelry is the “Mogok Ruby Suite” by Van Cleef & Arpels. The suite consists of a necklace, pendant, brooch, and earrings, all of which are set with Mozambique rubies. The suite was inspired by the Mogok region in Burma, which is known for producing some of the world's finest rubies.




The Mozambique ruby is a truly stunning gemstone that has captured the hearts and minds of jewelry designers and collectors alike. With its long history, deep red color, and unique properties, it is a testament to the beauty and wonder of the natural world. The mining of Mozambique rubies is a dangerous and labor-intensive process, but the final product is one that is cherished and celebrated throughout the world. It is likely that the Mozambique ruby will continue to be a valuable and highly prized gemstone for many years to come.


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